We’re all watching. We can’t take our eyes off of it, and the various networks make sure we don’t. It’s the horrible, growing tragedy in Japan: the apparent or likely meltdowns of the four nuclear reactors.

Fifteen thousand or even more Japanese civilians have lost their lives, swept to destruction by the tsunami that resulted from the massive 9-point earthquake. And multiplied thousands more are now threatened with lethal radiation from the breakup and meltdowns of the four reactors that had been supplying a huge portion of Japan’s energy. At various points, even expert technicians and government people had to be waved away from even the areas surrounding the boiling, exploding reactors, because the risk of radiation is too great.

Conflicting reports, some from the Japanese officials and some from American scientists, make it uncertain about the immediate size of the dangers. But our American observers feel that the exposed rods aren’t being cooled, that serious and widespread radiation is being wafted by the sea winds toward inland Japan – and that the government may not be telling their own people the truth they need to hear.

Meanwhile, the weather is greatly complicating things. It’s been very cold and windy, even snowing, further hampering efforts to control the leaks and adding to the misery of the homeless. There hasn’t been nearly enough food and other necessities for the citizens, and the loss of the nuclear power has caused massive blackouts across a huge part of the nation.

Could it be any worse? Yes, it could … and is. And their misery is contagious, involving other nations and peoples, including the U.S.

Japan’s economy is closely linked to ours. Just since the giant quake, the aftershocks and the nightmarish nuclear leak occurred, our stock market has taken a very deep dive. Along with China, Japan has bought many billions of our bonds, the massive bond obligations that have created our $15 trillion in debt, and those debts have to be paid. Paid? By whom? You guessed it – the American taxpayer, through our runaway, irresponsible wildly spendthrift government. Wise investors realize that a panicked, troubled nation may have to call for payment, or try to unload our bonds at discounts to whoever might want them.

So our economy is already being shaken and affected. And there have been terrible reports of tsunami damage, even loss of life, in Hawaii and along our western shores. From a quake in Japan, all the way across the wide Pacific! And there has been concern about the possibility of nuclear radiation reaching our shores as well, carried by the ocean winds.

But what about the cataclysmic meltdown in America?

This president and his advisers have added more trillions to our deficit load in his first two years in office, and projected more trillions through his programs into the next 10 years, than all our previous presidents put together! If he gets the full cooperation of Congress, he intends to add at least a trillion and a half more to our deficit each year!

That is the greatest economic meltdown in human history!

In America, too, millions have lost their jobs. Millions have lost, or are losing, their homes. There is increased homelessness and hunger in the streets of our country, as there is now in Japan. Our people are experiencing terrible anxiety, stress, hopelessness; and there is a growing loss of confidence in the leadership of our government, Democrat and Republican alike. As in Japan, there is suspicion that our leaders aren’t telling us the truth we need to know.

A friend sent me the following pungent comment from the Internet:

Has America become the land of the special interest and home of the double standard?

Let’s see: If we lie to the Congress, it’s a felony; and if the Congress lies to us, it’s just politics. The government spends millions to rehabilitate criminals, and they do almost nothing for the victims. In public schools you can teach that homosexuality is OK, but you better not use the word God in the process. You can kill an unborn child, but it’s wrong to execute a mass murderer.

We don’t burn books in America – we now rewrite them. We got rid of the communist and socialist threat by renaming them progressives. We are unable to close our border with Mexico, but have no problem protecting the 38th parallel in Korea.

If you protest against President Obama’s policies, you’re a terrorist; but if you burned an American flag or George Bush in effigy, it was your First Amendment right.

You can have pornography on TV or the Internet, but you better not put a nativity scene in a public park during Christmas. We can use a human fetus for medical research, but it’s wrong to use an animal.

We take money from those who work hard for it and give it to those who don’t want to work. We all support the Constitution, but only when it supports our political ideology. We still have freedom of speech, but only if we are being politically correct. Parenting has been replaced with Ritalin and video games.

And how do we handle a major crisis today? The government appoints a committee to determine who’s at fault, then threatens them, passes a law, raises our taxes and tells us the problem is solved so they can get back to their re-election campaign.

What has happened to the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Ken Huber, Tawas City

Evidence indicates that Ken speaks for millions and millions of our fellow Americans – and that loss of confidence in our leaders, this president in particular, and even in our collective ability to shore up and restore our republic, is a meltdown of enormous proportion. Even if an aroused and even further determined citizenry demands that we chop our debts by trillions immediately and insist that our elected leaders develop sanity and responsibility to those who elected them – it may take longer for us to repair our meltdown than it will take our neighbors to the far east to repair theirs.

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